Nian 念

Nian 念 (Memory) is an AR-based project that delves into the cultural nuances and reflections of Chinese traditional funerals. It encompasses extensive literature research, analysis, UX/UI design, icon design, motion graphics, and programming. This AR program explores the conflict between authentic emotions and the facade of feudal traditions observed during one of the most solemn ceremonies, funerals, employing a technological and supporting approach. Timeline: July 2023 - October 2023

Role: UX / Visual Designer, Motion Graphic Designer  (Individual project)

Tools: After Effects / Unity / Adobe Illustrator / Figma
Video Prototype

🪷 What Do Traditional Funeral Rituals Mean to You? 🪷

Project StoryThe idea of designing for the traditional Chinese funeral arose a week after I attended my grandmother’s funeral.

During the funeral, I was overwhelmed by the noise and smoke, which prevented me from properly grieving and expressing my emotions. Many of my grandmother’s belongings were discarded or burned according to tradition. I wished to keep the memory of my loved ones in my heart and have a memento from them that I could cherish whenever I missed them. This is how the concept of Nian 念 was initially conceived.
Grandma’s family, 1980
Problem Area
Based on the present condition of East Asian funerals and the attitudes of people towards them, it is evident that funeral rituals are something people have mixed feelings about and cannot easily abandon. This dilemma has led me to develop a funeral AR program as a means of satirizing the current state of funeral rituals and people's behaviors. The program will utilize AR technology to showcase and highlight certain aspects of funeral rituals that are disliked by many, offering a thought-provoking commentary on their current status.
Mission Statement

How might we change people's perception towards death and funerals in Chinese culture, where it is often treated as a taboo subject.
User Insights

Perceptions of East Asian funeral rituals are polarized.
Design Goal

Incorporate the latest technology (XR) into the funeral ceremony to challenge people's established perceptions of traditional funeral rituals.

Design Solution
compel them to cry and perform rituals. Additionally, a Tear Rank system will be implemented to assess individuals' devotion to their family, adding an entertainment aspect to the program.
Site map

Design solution 1
Virtual Experience

"I wish to have a personalized virtual experience when attending funerals, allowing me to express my feelings to my loved ones without feeling overwhelmed and experiencing less burnout."

Main Page

As a user, I can access the funeral by scanning a QR code or through pop-up windows within the AR interface design.

Scan QR Code

I can scan the code at the funeral to retrieve information about the ceremony.

Funeral Information

I can view detailed information about the deceased on a pop-up screen.

Design solution 2
Purchase Virtual Tribute and Burn

“The smoke caused my eyes to hurt when I was burning the ancestor money.”
“The more money you spend for the funeral, the more you respect the deceased. I personally don’t agree with this tradition but I have to obey.”

Buy Tribute with Points

I can use collected points from attending other funerals to purchase virtual tributes for burning in the Tribute Store.

Burn the Tribute and Let the Plant Grow

I can nurture the flowers by burning the tributes, allowing the AR platform to display a beautiful scenery during the funeral.

Design solution 3
Check My Family

“The funeral was the last moment that I could have any memories of my grandpa.”
“I want to cherish my family and build a stronger family tie after the funeral.”

Check My family status

I can view my family tree on the platform, fostering a sense of our collective participation in this ceremony.

View Family Rank

I can view the level of honor of each family member, which is an inheritance of the traditional Chinese culture of honor.

View My Past Plants

I can access records of my past attended funerals and view the plants grown during those ceremonies. Each virtual plant represents a deceased family member, who will be remembered eternally through these virtual plants.

Motion Graphic Design
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See more research Process


I received feedback suggesting that the product might be perceived as slightly radical from a cultural standpoint. Additionally, not all elders possess the necessary digital literacy to engage with such an experience. My intention is to design this product as a pilot project, with the hope of partnering with larger organizations for future testing.
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